Greece’s lawmakers are due to vote later today on a government proposal to set up a parliamentary committee to investigate allegations that former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou removed relatives’ names from a list of Greeks with deposits in Switzerland.
The so-called Lagarde list is an electronic file of 2,062 people with deposits in a Swiss branch of HSBC Holdings Plc that was given to the government in 2010 by France’s then-finance minister, Christine Lagarde. Handling of the list has drawn criticism from opposition parties and lawmakers in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s coalition.
Creating the panel requires majority approval by Greece’s 300 lawmakers. Samaras’s three-party coalition, which is made up of his New Democracy party, Pasok and Democratic Left, holds 163 seats in the chamber.
Today’s vote will also determine if three other people named on two separate proposals are included in the probe. The main opposition Syriza party proposed a probe of Pasok leader Evangelos Venizelos, while two smaller parties, Independent Greeks and nationalist Golden Dawn, called for two former prime ministers, George Papandreou and Lucas Papademos, to be included.
“The last thing this country needs right now is procedures that will once again leave it exposed,” Papaconstantinou said in parliament today, according to an e-mailed transcript of his speech. “I didn’t tamper with anything. Apart from the fact that such an act would go against my principles, it would be irrational and idiotic to do it in the way that is being presented,” he said in reference to just three names of relatives being removed.
Papaconstantinou, who pushed through Greece’s first bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in 2010, denied reports on Dec. 28 that he had altered the list. Pasok expelled him on the same day.